Gov. Andrew Cuomo has extended for another 30 days his executive order that temporarily tolls all statutes of limitations during the coronavirus public health crisis.
The latest order extends through July 6.
Cuomo's order tolls "any specific time limit for the commencement, filing, or service of any legal action, notice, motion, or other process or proceeding, as prescribed by the procedural laws of the state, including but not limited to the criminal procedure law, the Family Court act, the civil practice law and rules, the Court of Claims act, the Surrogate's Court procedure act, and the uniform court acts, or by any other statute, local law, ordinance, order, rule, or regulation, or part thereof."
In March, the New York State Bar Association urged the governor to act on what was then a bill proposing such an order.
Cuomo's latest executive order also extended his previous order pertaining to remote witnessing, which clarifies the requirements needed to allow the remote signings of such documents as deeds, wills, power of attorney forms and healthcare proxies. It also extended an earlier executive order pertaining to the criminal procedure law.
Phased Courthouse Reopenings Start in NYC
In her weekly briefing, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore said that by Wednesday, June 10 all state court system judges, chambers staff and designated court personnel will be back at work in their assigned courthouses, as New York City began phase one today.
"With regard to New York City, even though as part of phase one our judges and a limited number of staff will be back at work in our courthouses, they will be conducting court business through virtual technology in order to keep courthouse traffic down and minimize the risk of community transmission during this initial start-up period," said DiFiore. "For unrepresented litigants who lack the technology to access our virtual services, we have set aside courthouse space where they can safely access essential court services."
DiFiore said in every region, administrative judges are closely monitoring the volume and flow of courthouse traffic, making necessary adjustments and carefully planning for the next phase of in-person services and operations, including phase three in some upstate regions.
"We are confident that our approach of incrementally opening the valve to additional in-person activities and courthouse traffic is the smartest way to deal with the reality that COVID-19 is still a presence," said DiFiore. "Because until a vaccine is available, no one really knows what will happen as restrictions are eased and more and more people come into contact with each other on a regular basis. And we've all come much too far since the dark days of March and April to move forward carelessly and risk another resurgence of the virus; so, hence, our careful, methodical and deliberate approach to reestablishing our in-court operations."
DiFiore also said the state court system has been dealing with the challenge of processing hundreds of daily arrests stemming from the protests over the tragic death of George Floyd.
She said that despite the higher volume of arrests, the system "admirably" handled the virtual court arraignments. She said they doubled their virtual arraignment parts in Manhattan and implemented additional evening and overnight arraignment parts as needed.